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Meet Oki Sato, the Japanese Designer Who Prefers to Work on 400 Things at a Time

Tokyo Tribal collection for Industry+—All photos via <a href="http://www.dezeen.com/2015/04/28/interview-nendo-founder-oki-sato-addicted-to-design-milan-2015/">Dezeen</a>
Tokyo Tribal collection for Industry+—All photos via Dezeen

Canadian-born Japanese designer Oki Sato is the founder of Tokyo-based design firm Nendo and a bona fide workaholic with over 100 product launches in just the last year. In an interview with Dezeen at the recent Salone del Mobile, Sato reveals that he wouldn't have it any other way. "If I focus on only one or two projects, I can only think about one or two projects," he says. "When I start thinking about working on 400 projects, it relaxes me." This 24/7 approach to design, which Sato compares to "breathing or eating", has yielded a diverse range of products that combine Japanese simplicity with a bit of irreverence, including a "Cabbage Chair" made of paper waste (once shown at the MoMA), subversive Hello Kitty t-shirts, a heavenly minimalist chocolate shop, and Winnie-the-Pooh-inspired tables. Next up? Buildings.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal last year, Sato explains that "Nendo" roughly means "play dough," which well represents his predilection for "mixing different colors and creating different shapes" and more generally, striving for the "flexibility of designing things." "When I find a new material or technology, I can use that for furniture or interior design," he says.

These days, Nendo's output is also hugely aided by 3D printers, three of which operate at all hours of the day at the Tokyo studio. Sato says 3D printers lets his team turn "stupid sketches" into physical prototypes overnight.

When asked about what products he wants to focus on, the designer mentions wanting to "shift more into architecture." Sato, originally trained as an architect, is currently working on a shopping center in Bangkok and a complex with parks, cafes, and theaters near Kyoto, Japan. And soon the studio will tackle private houses. Will there be a deluge of strange micro homes? More ultra-skinny abodes? Stay tuned.

Below, a tour of Nendo's latest designs:


· Designing 400 projects at a time "relaxes me"
says Nendo's Oki Sato [Dezeen]
· Heaven is this Minimalist Chocolate Shop in Tokyo [Curbed National]
· The 9 Trends Cannibalizing the Interior Design Scene in 2015 [Curbed National]